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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

The association between medical students’ lifestyles and their attitudes towards preventive counseling in different countries

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Yan Yu, Yuxuan Yang, Zhifang Li, Bo Zhou, Yi Zhao, Shen Yuan, Ruijuan Zhang, Matthew Sebranek, Lennert Veerman, Mu Li, Enying Gong, Shu Chen, Wenjie Ma, Liping Huang, KaWing Cho, Stephen Leeder, Lijing Yan
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

YY drafted the manuscript, revised it critically and participated in the design and coordination. YY, ZL, BZ,YZ and MS participated in the collection of data. SY performed the statistical analysis and interpretation of data. RZ and LV revised the manuscript. ML participated in the collection of data and conceived the study. SL revised it critically for important intellectual content and conceived the study. EG and SC performed the ethics statement and application. WM and KC participated in the pre-investigation and collection of data. LH participated in the general supervision, design and coordination. LY took charge in the acquisition of funding and made substantial contributions to the conception and design. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Preventive counselling is an effective approach to reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Studies have shown that there is a positive association between healthy behaviors of Colombian medical students and favorable attitudes towards preventive counselling. However, there is limited research that explores this relationship in different countries. The current study aimed to determine how the health behaviors of medical students from China, U.S., and Australia, are associated with attitudes towards preventive counseling.


Students from five Chinese medical schools, Duke University in the U.S., and the University of Queensland in Australia, completed a 32-item, self-reported online survey. The survey was used to examine the prevalence of healthy behaviors and their association with attitudes towards preventive counseling. The target sample size was 150 students from each grade, or 450 students in total from different medical universities. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association between health behaviors and attitudes towards preventive counseling, stratified by grade and adjusted by gender.


A positive association was found between healthy behaviors and attitudes towards preventive counseling for all medical students. There are significant differences among medical students’ self-reported health behaviors and their attitudes towards preventive counselling from three different countries (P < 0.05). Chinese medical students were more positive in stress control (OR > 1) and more passive in limiting their smoking and alcohol behaviors compared to medical students in Duke University. However, compared to medical students in University of Queensland, five Chinese medical students were more passive in stress control (OR < 1).


Based on the finding that healthy behaviors are positively related to favorable attitudes towards preventative counselling, medical students should adopt targeted courses and training in preventive counseling and develop healthy lifestyles.
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